The Aussie Farm Dam Make-over takes shape in Bingara.

June 12, 2015

The first stage of the Aussie Farm Dam Make-over at The Living Classroom (TLC) has been completed. The earthworks required to shape the Great Lake at TLC finished last Friday. Excavator operator Mark Bogan precisely carved out the Crop Cove area from the design by QUT Landscape Architecture students Debbie Turner and Emily Colling.

Turner and Colling had produced the project design as part of their 2014 third year project. Their design sought to enhance the traditional Australian farm dam to display all the opportunities imaginable aesthetically and environmentally and to add economic advantages from more reliable clean water.

The Living Classroom
Composite picture above shows the Crop Cove across the Great Lake ready to be flooded. The lower image shows the stepping stone pathway through the “swamp” area.

The Crop Cove added half a megalitre of additional water storage to the dam, creating a shallow water feature area. Within the Crop Cove a large number of water plants and water-edge plants will be sown to create biodiversity and usable food crops. The detailed work can be seen on display at the Bingara Visitor Information Centre.

Visitors are invited to take a wander onto the site to see the work in progress. The excavated area has been covered with mulch originating from the Bingara Landfill depot. A winding pathway of volcanic rocks sourced from the Picone property “Zaba” in the Benbraggie Hills just west of Bingara, will form stepping stones just above top water level once the lake is filled.

The excavated material has been used to fill a gullied area below the Main Dam at TLC, several hundred metres south of the Great Lake. In that area a temperate rainforest area will be planted to become a “food forest” featuring a wide range of food trees and shrubs.

To bring all of the elements of the site together, a two kilometre pathway will wind its way up to the Main Lake, across its spillway returning to the Family Tree Orchard near the junction of West and Cunningham Streets.

Additional features at the Great Lake, forming aspects of the Aussie Farm Dam Make-over, include chinampas, terraced padi fields, a bird sanctuary island, a fish capture pond and a swamp and bog water feature.

All up there are now 13 lakes and ponds constructed at The Living Classroom, and more than five kilometres of connecting banks and swales. They are designed to slow and capture rainwater, from All Nations Hill in the east to Argoon Street in the west, and provide multiple uses for the water on site.

Community engagement for these projects will continue to be sought. If you would like to know more, or would like to offer some of your time to volunteer ideas and labour, please contact Frances Young at the Northern Slopes Landcare Office, Glen Pereira at Gwydir Shire Council or the Vision 2020 representatives Garry McDouall or Rick Hutton.

Submitted by – Rick Hutton Ph: 0428 255 380